Protein is such an important nutrient which is essential for growth, repair and building processes in the body.
It’s important to have some not just after a workout but in all your meals along with carbohydrates from whole grains, legumes, veggies, fruit and healthy sources of fats. It helps your blood sugar levels to stay balanced and together with fibre helps keeping you satisfied and full for longer.
And there are so many plant based sources of protein that you can include in your daily eats. Here’s some of my favourite ones!
Hemp and Chia seeds
These tiny seeds have are amazing..just 3 tablespoons deliver 8-10 grams of protein and both contain healthy omega 3s fatty acids that make skin glow and hair shinier, healthy fibre, calcium and magnesium. Turn them into chia pudding or hemp milk to boost the protein content of breakfast granolas; sprinkle onto salads or add to smoothies to make them creamier and perfect for a post-workout refuel. Hemp actually contains all the essential amino acids your body needs to complete its daily functions.
Peas provide around 9-11 grams of protein for every cup (about the same of a cup of milk) and also contain essential vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, phosphorous and zinc. They’re a great choice for people who can’t easily digest beans or chickpeas (which are full of protein as well) and are so easy to cook with. Add them to soups, stews, pesto or hummus and even throw a cup of frozen peas in a smoothie to thicken it up without adding fruit. Or simply use a scoop of pea protein, which along with hemp is one of the best and most nutritious plant-based protein powders on the market.
Nuts and Nut butters
Yes, you can get your protein fix from these creamy and delicious spreads as 2 tablespoons of almond or cashew butter have around 10 grams of protein. Have a spoonful on porridge or spread it on rye bread with bananas and cinnamon or cacao nibs and raisins. You can also use almond or hazelnut flour in cookies, brownies, pancakes or other sweet treats. They will be delicious and nutritious at the same time!
This blue-green algae is 60-70% protein (beef is only 20-25%) containing 4-5 grams in just one teaspoon and it’s incredibly rich in vital vitamins and minerals. For example, iron in a form that is highly bioavailable for human absorption along with calcium, zinc and magnesium. Stir a teaspoon into a juice, a smoothie bowl or use to boost energy balls and raw chocolate brownies recipes. If the flavour is initially a bit unpleasant, start with taking it into tablet form and leave the cooking experiments for later.
It may look like a grain but with its 7-9 grams of protein for 1/2 cup, it’s actually a powerful seed that contains all the essential amino acids that our body needs to function optimally but can’t produce on its own. Swap morning oats for quinoa porridge with nut milk, cinnamon and fruit; mix into cold or warm salads; use in pilaffs in place of rice or make it into veggie burgers that can definitely upstage their beef counterpart in terms of nutritional profile.